KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan toddler shot five times by Taliban militants in an attack at a Kabul hotel that killed his journalist father and the rest of his family has regained consciousness and asked for his mother, relatives said Monday, calling the survival of the nearly 2-year-old boy a miracle.
Hundreds of colleagues, dignitaries and loved ones gathered, meanwhile, at a memorial service for Agence France-Presse reporter Sardar Ahmad, his wife and their two other children, slain in Friday’s rampage at a restaurant in the Serena hotel.
Nine people in all were shot at close range and killed in the attack, which was particularly shocking because the luxury hotel has long been considered one of the safest places in Kabul to stay. The dead included four foreigners and an Afghan businessman.
The Ahmad family’s youngest child, Abuzar, emerged from a coma Sunday, and his condition was markedly improved, according to a cousin who provided pictures, including one showing a doctor leaning over the heavily bandaged child.
“Now he’s completely in recovery mode,” family member Turaj Rais said in a telephone interview. “Abuzar gives me hope. We are looking forward to a bright future for him.”
Rais, who was Sardar Ahmad’s nephew, said Abuzar had even reached out to grab his iPhone to play a video game, though he was unable to do so. He said a family meeting was planned to decide who would take guardianship of the boy.